"Here’s a site that isn’t full of hot air. A powerful representation of a shoe through interaction, music and graphics." —juror Jeff Benjamin
"Out of all of the sites that we judged, this site had a grace and next-generation look-and-feel that I really found appealing. The on-the-fly manipulation of video was something a lot of us had never seen done quite like this before. It was inspiring to see such a simple idea brought to life in such a vivid and gorgeous way." —juror Jason Zada
Overview: This deeply immersive site allows users to control the experience by combining animation, photography and video. With simple keystrokes they can create, modify, and share their personal vision of what it feels like to run or play basketball on Nike Air.
• 25-person team, 12-week development time
• Created using Apple Shake and Adobe Flash, AfterEffects and CS2
• Original green screen video
Comments by Michael Lebowitz:
"We had a blast dreaming-up, creating and executing this site.
"When Nike showed us the new Air Max '06, we knew we were looking at a shoe technology that could change the way people run and play basketball. For the first time, athletes would be supported by Air. No midsole. Just 100% Nike Air between their feet and the ground.
"We began with a question: How do you translate the feeling of walking on Air into a digital experience? You give the user the tools to create their own vision of it, to experience the shoe without actually sticking a foot in the monitor. Because we were using motion graphics, digital video, interactive design and original sound design to give people the tools to conduct their own visual and audio experiences, we began referring to the project as 'the symphony.'
"To film the two athletes running, jumping and dunking, we used a gigantic treadmill that could handle a bouncing basketball and used the latest version of Shake to marry the high-definition video to original animations and sound. The newest features in Flash 8 were used to enhance performance; support for alpha transparency in video allowed us to layer rich animations created in After Effects with the video of the athlete. New Actionscript features allowed us to create code-based animations, producing effects that were infinitely dynamic with minimal file size.
"Following the launch of the site, we made the Visualize It bitmap manipulation engine public (including all source code) on labs.bigspaceship.com. Although not identical to the Nike Air engine, we hope that coders can learn from and build-on our experiences with this project."